This questionnaire study investigated the perceptions of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients across the UK in relation to exercise and joint health. The validity of the measure was also assessed.Methods:
Members of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) with self-reported RA completed the questionnaire online. Items related to five factors that emerged from previous qualitative research. Participants responded using a five-point Likert-style scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) assessed physical activity. The model was tested using confirmatory factor analysis (LISREL 8.8); statistical analyses were conducted using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).Results:
A total of 247 responses were collected over 47 days (88% females; age: 18–77 years; disease duration: <1–51 years). Acceptable factorial validity was revealed (Satorra–Bentler χ2 = 774.47, df = 454, p < 0.001, root mean squared error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.05, 90% confidence interval RMSEA = 0.05–0.06, comparative fit index = 0.94, standardized root mean square residual = 0.09), with the following factor endorsements: ‘Health professionals show exercise knowledge’ (19%); ‘Knowing what exercise should be done’ (43%); ‘Having to exercise because it is helpful’ (72%); ‘Worry about causing harm to joints’ (44%); and ‘Not wanting to exercise as joints hurt’ (52%). Patient concerns about joint pain, joint harm and how to exercise were significantly associated with lower physical activity (p < 0.05).Conclusions:
These results confirm that patients perceive exercise as beneficial. However, concerns about how to exercise, joint pain, causing harm to joints and a perceived lack of exercise knowledge among health professionals remain. Addressing these concerns may have implications for increasing physical activity within the RA population. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.